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A tale of two clasicos

October 31, 2011

I went to the football on Saturday. First half was awful, second half was pretty good. Nothing on watching Spurs’ flowing football yesterday though. Bale’s second goal in particular was a thing of beauty. Anyway, here’s the Mexican match report:

Atlas claim a point after clasico comeback

Guadalajara Chivas remain top of the league despite failing to beat local rivals Atlas, who fought back to claim a 1-1 draw after playing over half of Saturday’s “Clasico Tapatio” with ten men.

Chivas had already qualified for the playoffs before kick-off, but there was little evidence on the pitch that this clash pitted top of the table against bottom.

A dull first half was marked only by the sending off of Atlas’ Luis Ramos, six minutes before the interval. The second half was a more engaging affair and Chivas duly took the lead on the 54th minute, with Erick “Cubo” Torres heading in from a free-kick swung into the penalty area.

Although a man down, Atlas rallied, buoyed by the spirited home fans inside the almost-full Estadio Jalisco. They matched their more celebrated neighbors for endeavor and eventually claimed a deserved equalizer when Lucas Ayala drove the ball home from close range in the 78th minute.

The draw leaves Chivas three points clear in first position, with just one game left before the playoffs. Atlas remain bottom, three points adrift of nearest side Club America.

Guadalajara’s third biggest team, Estudiantes Tecos, suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Cruz Azul on Sunday, while in the promotion league the University of Guadalajara side Leones Negros lost 2-1 away to Irapuato.

I also wrote this one after last week’s other big clasico:

Fabian redeems himself as Chivas clinch clasico victory

Guadalajara Chivas rose to the top of the table with a 3-1 victory over fierce rivals America in Sunday’s “Super Clasico,” the most anticipated game in Mexican soccer.

Four goals in a frantic opening 18 minutes decided the game in Chivas’ favor, while matters worsened for their opponents as the Eagles found themselves down to ten men when Brazilian Rosinei saw red with 30 minutes remaining.

The win will have come as some relief for Marco Fabian, who scored Chivas’ second goal, thus earning some redemption for his controversial celebration during the 5-2 demolition of Estudiantes Tecos last week.

The 22-year-old forward netted a hat-trick in that game, but made negative headlines for performing a mock execution of teammate Alberto Medina after scoring his second. Given Mexico’s well-documented problems with drug violence that have led to a death toll of over 40,000 in the past five years, the celebration did not go down too well.

Fabian and Medina were each fined 50,000 pesos by their club, but voluntarily doubled the figure as a gesture of apology. Fabian then traveled alongside Chivas owner Jorge Vergara to Ciudad Juarez on Thursday, to donate one million pesos to a foundation that supports orphans whose parents were killed in drug-related violence.

With this controversy now behind him, it was back to winning ways for Fabian and his team in the enormous Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Midfielder Antonio Gallardo opened the scoring for Chivas, but Ecuador’s Christian Benitez equalized six minutes later for America. Within five minutes Fabian had restored Chivas’ lead, while striker Erick “Cubo” Torres sealed the win with a third goal just a minute later.

Victory was enough to put Chivas top of the league with 25 points, although second-place Santos are just two points behind, having played a game less.

High-flying Chivas now face UANL Tigres on Wednesday before moving on to another clasico – this time of the Tapatio variety – against local rivals Atlas in the Estadio Jalisco on Saturday.

In other local soccer news, Estudiantes Tecos recorded a 5-2 home win over Santos Laguna on Saturday, while Atlas drew 1-1 at home to Morelia.

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